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President Biden's COVID plan includes focus on advancing medical equity

About six percent of the written plan is dedicated to the goal of advancing medical equity.

Posted: Jan 21, 2021 11:36 PM

As President Biden begins ramping up his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, part of its focus will be geared to "protect those most at risk and advance equity." 

Tiffany Whitlow, co-founder of Acclinate, said having that as one of the core seven goals of Biden's coronavirus response and the large spotlight on trust feels like an important turning point in tackling the virus.

Courtesy: Acclinate Courtesy: Acclinate

"I think that that is imperative in order for us to move forward and in order for us to establish trust not only with the government, but with subject matter experts," Whitlow said. 

Acclinate has been working to build that trust locally in Alabama among minority and rural communities through its #NowIncluded platform. 

Whitlow also highlighted the establishment of a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will establish practices aimed at medical equity, both now and beyond the pandemic. 

"If they're thinking about that entire process here, now that we're fighting COVID-19, they're also thinking about that process for other therapeutics and other drugs and that's exciting to know that Biden is already thinking beyond COVID-19, honestly," Whitlow said. 

According to the executive order establishing this group, "The Task Force shall consist of the Secretary of HHS; an individual designated by the Secretary of HHS to Chair the Task Force (COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Chair); the heads of such other executive departments, agencies, or offices (agencies) as the Chair may invite; and up to 20 members from sectors outside of the Federal Government appointed by the President."

Regarding the timeline of its work, "Unless extended by the President, the Task Force shall terminate within 30 days of accomplishing the objectives set forth in this order, including the delivery of the report and recommendations specified in this section, or 2 years from the date of this order, whichever comes first."

Biden's plan also calls for a mobilization of at least 100,000 people to "conduct culturally-responsive outreach and engagement."

In Alabama, Whitlow said that involves a partnership with the UAB Center for AIDS Research to engage in three largely rural counties in an effort to improve access to COVID-19 testing and knowledge about the vaccines.

A two-year, $5 million award from the National Institutes of Health's Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative is making it possible.

The initiative was launched in Franklin, Clarke and Clay counties in October 2020 and will start to yield results on the ground in the near future. 

"We think about it as a way to add to the opportunities that the local county health departments have been offering to individuals who still maybe not qualify for the vaccine, but still want to know where they stand," Whitlow said.

For the latest on COVID-19 talks and information with subject matter experts through #NowIncluded, click here.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493252

Reported Deaths: 9929
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709861374
Mobile36108725
Madison32405455
Tuscaloosa24110410
Montgomery22565500
Shelby21929215
Baldwin19732283
Lee14961153
Morgan13659251
Calhoun13275286
Etowah13176319
Marshall11261209
Houston10086261
Elmore9376185
Limestone9359134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8822223
Lauderdale8603211
DeKalb8446175
Talladega7517163
Walker6518255
Jackson6492102
Autauga626491
Blount6097127
Colbert6001118
Coffee5245102
Dale4640107
Russell404730
Franklin399177
Covington3957106
Chilton3870100
Escambia377472
Tallapoosa3585142
Clarke343650
Chambers3410110
Dallas3403141
Pike293372
Lawrence282984
Marion281895
Winston246767
Bibb245060
Geneva239670
Marengo235855
Pickens224654
Barbour211551
Hale209768
Fayette200256
Butler196166
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156535
Clay144354
Crenshaw144354
Macon142043
Cleburne137739
Lamar132833
Lowndes131051
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87632
Choctaw55023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 775004

Reported Deaths: 11411
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby872191491
Davidson81420861
Knox45877581
Hamilton40298459
Rutherford38301383
Williamson25238203
Sumner21329315
Montgomery17380212
Out of TN1693194
Wilson16371210
Unassigned15639125
Sullivan14318273
Blount14036181
Bradley12867139
Washington12759234
Maury12203163
Sevier12011163
Putnam10592169
Madison10092229
Robertson8941120
Hamblen8013162
Anderson7971156
Greene7283145
Tipton6945103
Coffee6311114
Dickson6205106
Gibson6187140
Cumberland6102121
Carter5962152
McMinn591791
Roane588896
Bedford5789119
Loudon567965
Jefferson5642118
Lawrence556383
Monroe532290
Warren530975
Hawkins523894
Dyer5234101
Franklin472585
Fayette466171
Obion436694
Rhea414473
Lincoln413362
Cocke397593
Marshall390756
Cheatham390543
Campbell380059
Weakley378659
Giles373296
Henderson361973
Carroll347981
Hardeman338164
White337166
Macon336373
Hardin331163
Lauderdale309742
Henry300675
Marion293644
Wayne287130
Scott286843
Overton284857
Claiborne278967
McNairy267253
Hickman264941
Haywood264860
DeKalb264349
Smith255636
Grainger242446
Trousdale238922
Morgan229637
Fentress229144
Johnson216338
Chester201548
Bledsoe200110
Crockett197147
Unicoi180347
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Cannon174529
Union171933
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Lake167826
Sequatchie155327
Decatur153737
Humphreys153221
Benton150739
Lewis146825
Meigs125921
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Clay106930
Perry103227
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